Word Association

Clearly, I’ve been a bit AWOL– swept up in a few real-life issues and neglecting my poor little blog.

I’ve been singing all day about buying a Corolla. I have no actual intention of doing so. And, no, it’s not a jingle.

In the words of Adrian Monk, here’s what happened:

A couple of weeks ago, my family met at a restaurant to celebrate my mother’s birthday. A Mexicanesque place called “Uncle Julio’s”

Which led to a discussion between my mother’s first cousin and my own first cousin. My mother’s cousin had “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” stuck in her head, due to the restaurant name. My cousin, being a young thing, had never heard of the song.

Turns out, neither had my husband.

The conversation went on long enough that on our way home, my husband demanded I sing the song for him. He loves it. And ever since, he’s been asking me to sing it, he’s been humming it often, trying to sing it himself.

Here’s the problem with that… he doesn’t remember the words.

Unstymied, he makes up his own as he goes along.

Which is why, as the song lodges itself in my noggin, instead of
“Goodbye to Ro-o-o-o-osie-e-e, the Queen of Corona,”
I’m finding myself singing,
“Going to buy me-e-e-e-e-e, a brand-new Corolla.”

I love my goofy husband. null

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What’s Mine is Yours

So the other night as we finish dinner, I pick up my empty tea mug and head to stove to put the kettle on.

“Can I have some tea, too?” my husband asks.

“Sure. Where’s your mug?”

He points to the one in my hand. “I think that one’s mine.”

“Nope. Yours is probably upstairs.”

“YOURS is upstairs.”

This is going nowhere fast. “Dude. No.”

Always a tower of jello, I go upstairs and retrieve it.

“See? Here’s your mug. It was right where you left it.”

He shakes his head. “I told you. That’s YOUR mug.”

“It’s my mug? I left MY mug on the table next to YOUR chair with YOUR brand of tea bag inside?”

A long pause.

He reaches for it and chokes back a smile. “What I meant was, this was your mug before we got married. And if we ever get divorced, you’ll retain full custody of this mug. I mean, come on… it has sunflowers all over the sides.”

I laugh. I can’t help it.

“Does that mean I still get tea?”

Stinker.

If You Believe in Love…

“I don’t know if you believe in Christmas…
Or if you have presents underneath a Christmas tree.
But if you believe in love,
That will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me.”

~ Kermit the Frog, “The Christmas Wish”

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Happy 4th of July!

Here in the good ol’ US of A, we’re celebrating Independence Day. But for my international readers (allowing for time zone differences), it’s still the fourth of July, right?

So Happy 4th!

Another Mystery Solved!

My husband, affectionately known around these parts as “Mr. Kiddoc,” has baffled me for years.

He can make things disappear without a trace. Give him a set of keys or a remote control or a scrap of paper with a phone number on it and– in under a minute– it will be gone. He won’t even need to leave his chair.

Many times I’ve marveled at his ability to lose things. He can be holding his wallet one minute and asking for help finding it the next. And he has a bad leg… it’s not like he can speed in and out of my line of sight.

I’ve often told him the CIA should hire him to make things disappear.

Well, recently it happened again. He was sitting in the family room. I handed him the phone and a refrigerator magnet with the phone number of our local pizza joint so he could order our dinner. I then returned to the kitchen. Mr. Kiddoc never moved from the sofa. I could see the top of his head through our pass through.

And yet, by the time he hung up the phone, the magnet was missing.

We dug deep into the sofa cushions, but no dice. The magnet was gone.

A few hours later, I stumbled across it. About 15 feet away from where he was sitting, on the hearth of our fireplace.

I should add that the magnet is shaped like a slice of pizza and therefore disinclined to roll.

My BFF and I finally put it together. There is only one possible explanation.

My husband can create wormholes.

They are, evidently, quite weak, allowing only the transfer of small objects a few feet in any direction. But perhaps now that he knows, he’ll be able to hone his skills.

We can only hope he will use his powers for good. *snort*

U Got the Look: Novel Marketing and Prom Ensembles

Well, Prom season is upon us. You may wonder what the heck that has to do with marketing a novel. Well, I’ll tell you.

But first, I’d like to introduce this into evidence:

That’s me (with my sister) on my way to the prom circa 1992.

Now, if you’re like me, after looking at this picture, you’re rubbing your stinging nose with one hand while wiping the coffee off your laptop with the other. Which is hard to do when you’re shaking with laughter. I mean that is really quite the look, right?  Check out the asymmetric hair-do and the “floating pearl” necklace. Not to mention the white iridescent tights. And when you’re uberpale, the best look is almost always baby pink patterned satin over white tulle, natch.

Here’s the thing:

At the time, I thought I looked awesome. Other people thought I looked awesome, too. I overheard my date’s younger sister whining that her brother must have bribed me or something cuz OMG, she’s actually pretty!

Unfortunately, I believe writing is a bit like fashion. I finished the first draft of The Edge of Memory in 7 weeks. I did a quick grammar edit, and then shipped the manuscript off to a bevy of test readers for feedback, while I took a month away “for perspective.” (yeah, right.)

Over the next several months, I completed several major edits. I then decided I was done tinkering and ready to seek representation. I read the blogging agents mantras of “Don’t Query Before You’re Ready” and “Write a Great Book” and felt confident. I loved my manuscript. I didn’t think it was perfect, of course, but I thought I’d reached the point where I needed professional feedback to progress further.

I was both right and wrong.

Since that first stopping point (when my book was titled “Still Haunted”), I’ve done at least six more rounds of editing. And each time I finish a round of edits, I cringe to look at the previous drafts. Just like that prom picture, I look at those versions and wonder, “what the heck I was thinking?”

In February, an agent who had requested a partial and then my full manuscript pointed out a plot detail that bothered her. She gave me a eureka moment and I subsequently rewrote several scenes. I am very pleased with the resulting manuscript, and have not edited again since (which, of course, shatters my previous record of approximately nine minutes between edits). I think this time I finally have reached the most polished version I can produce.

Naturally, I wish I had known that I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was when I first began querying. But then, I’m not sure I would have reached this place without the submission process. Certainly, I might never have had the eureka moment without that agent’s input.

The take-home point here is that I’m glad I’ve never been a Query Player (much as I’ve tried). If I had queried a zillion agents when I first thought my manuscript was ready, I’d have burned all my bridges.

But since I’ve only queried a few agents at a time, I’ve got a chance to show my best work. And I’m grateful for that.

Be Careful What You Wish For! (In Deep Smit 1/30/09)

Another Friday and again, I am deeply smitten with my own husband (affectionately known on these internets as “Mr. Kiddoc”)

Case in point:

I’m driving, Mr. Kiddoc is shotgun.
(several quiet moments pass uneventfully)

Mr. Kiddoc turns from the window. “I’m thinking maybe I should become a rock star.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Of course, I don’t play any instrument.”
“Well… no sense letting details get in the way.”
He shifts in his seat, lacing his fingers over his knee. “So what instrument should I play?”
“The triangle.” I nod. “You could pick that one up quick, I think.”
“I don’t know.” He bites his lip. “I didn’t think you would want me to play the triangle.”
“Why not?”
“You know the girls always go for the triangle player.”

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Halloween! (In Deep Smit 10/31/08)

It’s Friday again, sure. But who can pay attention to that when it’s also Halloween?

For your Halloween amusement, I’m sharing some Halloween pic of yours truly over the years.

I’m the toy soldier here. My sister is Little Bo Peep.

You can’t see my ladybug back in this picture.

Freshman year of high school.  Very 1987.

And here’s the most recent one… at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party last year with my mommer.  She’s a hoot, as you can tell. 😉

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wisconsin Travelogue– A Twitter-esque Eureka

So, I survived 36 hours sans internet this weekend.  And I realized what the theoretical point of Twitter is, although I don’t think it can work that way in practice.

One of the Blog Chain Gang, Leah Clifford recently posted her writing schedule and I had a Eureka Moment.  That’s what twitter should be like… except that you seldom have the time and/or opportunity to be twittering along the way when these sort of things go down.

My overnight trip with my mommer to Wisconsin would have twittered well, but for the fact I had no internet access or phone service and was too busy to be twittering it anyway.

If I could have twittered, it would have gone something like this:

Friday:

  • 9:07  Mommer arrives and hands me mapquest directions to Mineral Point, WI.  They run two full pages not including the map.
  • 9:16  Missed a turn already due to gabbing.  Computing alternate route.
  • 9:31  Street not labeled.  Missed another turn.
  • 9:39  Back on track and painstakingly following directions.
  • 9:47  Realize we’ve passed “Peace Road” 3 times.  Not feeling remotely peaceful.  Begin dissecting mapquest directions.
  • 9:49  Mapquest directions definitively proven to suck donkey balls.  Wrestling atlas out of back seat.
  • 9:51  No major city nearby means no streets near us are labeled.  Flinging useless atlas into back seat.
  • 9:54  Moving to Plan B: Keep Going North and West Until We Get There
  • 10:02  Caught train.  Enjoying graffiti art.
  • 10:04  Noticed a graffiti artist has written “Snake” on several cars.  Now shouting “Snakes on a Train” each time.
  • 10:32  On identifiable road and pointed in right direction. Yay.
  • 11:28  Crossing Wisconsin border
  • 12:18  Amish man reined in 4 horses at the end of a driveway so we can pass.  He waves.  Waving back.
  • 1:12  Arrive in Mineral Point, WI where 2500 reported friendly souls should be welcoming us.
  • 1:14  Finish cruising main strip and pull into brewery parking lot.
  • 1:16  Mommer wants to check into hotel.  I asked for hotel address.  Turns out, she has not made reservations.
  • 1:19  Thumbing though printed guide to choose hotel at random.
  • 1:21  Driving aimlessly as Mommer has only printed part of the town map.
  • 1:26  Passing park featuring large resin lion with open mouth for you to stick your head in.
  • 1:34  Located hotel in question which seems vaguely terrifying.  Mommer is encouraged by the Mobil Travel Guide label on the door until I point out it’s from 1988.
  • 1:35  Heading back to main strip in search of lunch and advice from “helpful and friendly” souls purported to be Mineral Point residents.
  • 1:50  Mommer is ordering the specialty dish… something called “pasty” that rhymes with nasty. I’m sticking with roast beef.
  • 2:25  Mommer asks waitress where we should stay.  Waitress is not so friendly.  Or helpful.
  • 2:26  Turns out there’s no cell phone signal in Mineral Point, so we cannot call hotels.
  • 2:30  Heading for only hotel with more than 3 rooms in the area.
  • 2:45  Hotel has no rooms, due to the Mineral Point Cornish Festival this weekend.  Front desk guy also not helpful or friendly.
  • 2:48  Standing in lobby, trying to pick up wifi signal on palm pilot to search for hotels.  No luck.
  • 2:50  Mommer announces we’re going to the Dells.
  • 3:00  Found road out of town.  God affirms our choice almost immediately by showing us a sign. A billboard sign, actually for this place:

Photobucket

The Mustard Museum is home to… wait for it… Poupon U.

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  • 3:18  Both Mommer and I suffering from severe heartburn.  Suspecting “friendly” Mineral Point people have tried to poison us.
  • 4:38  Arrived in Wisconsin Dells.  Staring nervously at the post-apocolyptically empty streets and shops.
  • 4:43 Searching for fudge.  For medicinal purposes.
  • 4:45 Discovered cell phones work in the Dells.  Calling Mr. Kiddoc to report our change in venue.
  • 4:51 Mr. Kiddoc now aware not to worry about us if Mineral Point is wiped off the map in a freak accident, which would serve them right anyway. nullMommer has run out of strip to cruise for candy stores.
  • Mommer pulls into parking lot to turn around and discovers it belongs to a “Gentlemen’s Club”.  Mr. Kiddoc reminds us to take pictures.  null
  • 4:59 Followed flashing “Fudge” sign, convinced that it could not be so cruel as to be closed.
  • 5:09 Medicinal fudge purchased and travel guides obtained.
  • 5:11  Plugging ear to block out vomiting sound effects from nearby “haunted house” while phoning hotels.
  • 5:16  Hotel on river is all booked up, which fundamentally conflicts with the 7 apparent tourists visible on the main drag on Friday evening.
  • 5:28  Hotel previously-on-lake-but-now-on-weedy-meadow has vacancy.  Woot.
  • 6:24  Heartburn worsening.  Cheezy souvenir shopping halted in favor of quest for antacid.
  • 6:41  Tums obtained and dispensed to all troops. Decision made to retreat.
  • 7:14  Checked into hotel on what used to be man-made Lake Delton.
  • 7:15  Troops have recovered enough for administration of medicinal fudge.
  • 7:20  View from room confirms that, when it comes to making lakes, God is much better at it.

In Deep Smit– 09/19/08

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Another Friday has come along. And today, I am in Deep Smit with our local hangouts. Yesterday, Mr. Kiddoc and I picked up the Thursday Special at our local pizza joint. It’s $5.99 for a large, one-topping pie. So we took our pepperoni pizza up to the state park where we got engaged and staked out a table for dinner.

After dinner, we drove to the theater we love near our house. Since we arrived during the “Twilight Time”, tickets are $5 each. And we are proud owners of the bottomless popcorn bucket there. Which means, we paid $10 for a plastic bucket and we bring it back for free refills for 6 months.

So, we saw “Burn After Reading” and ate free popcorn until our lips pruned from the salt. Photobucket

Total cost of dinner for two, two first-run movie tickets, and unlimited popcorn? $15.99

Rock on. Photobucket

In Deep Smit– 09/12/08

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I am getting these Deep Smit posts out later and later. Work has just been beyond busy lately, as I’ve been working more than usual to accommodate some of my staff’s schedule requests. But the upside of that is that once I leave here tomorrow, I don’t have to work another overnight shift for more than a week!

Time off rocks, of course, but that’s not what I’m in Deep Smit with this week.

I’m in Deep Smit with my husband, affectionately known online as “Mr. Kiddoc” since “Kiddoc” is my usual online username. This is not to say that I don’t usually love my husband… of course I do. But every once in a while something happens that endears the one you love to you all over again.

Mr. Kiddoc loves the FreeCreditReport.com commercials. All of them. The commercial starts and I watch his head start to bob, which is usually followed by approximately 30 minutes of him humming the jingle under (and over) his breath.

But that’s not why I’m in Deep Smit with Mr. Kiddoc, either.

I am deeply smitten with my husband’s concern for the FreeCreditReport.com guy’s “Dream Girl”.

If you haven’t seen the commercial

Mr. Kiddoc’s thoughts:

If she’s his dream girl, why can’t he get past whatever happened with her credit? I mean, she’s not lazy or anything… look… she’s doing the laundry while he’s standing around playing the guitar. That’s just not right.

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Sorry, folks, he’s off the market. Photobucket

Happy Labor Day!

As appropriate, I suppose, I am laboring today.  Well, laboring and mainlining caffeine Photobucketas I didn’t sleep much this weekend.

We were celebrating my BIL’s wedding to his beautiful new wife. Photobucket It was quite a cosmopolitan affair.  The bride was Taiwanese, the groom Mexican, the food was Italian.  We had both Mariachis and a Taiwanese choir performing.  My husband (Mr. Kiddoc) gave possibly the most awesome Best Man’s Toast ever.  It was a gorgeous, festive, emotional occasion and I wish them both a much-deserved lifetime of happiness together. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Coming back in to work was brutal early this morning after partying late last night.  The wedding was worth it, of course, but I am running on fumes over here.  Well, fumes and coffee.Photobucket

Hey, at least I got to have leftover wedding cake for breakfast! Photobucket

Reflections

Yesterday was the memorial service for my Aunt Sue. The service was held in a church near Chicago, as she is buried near here (she’d been living in California for the last 20 years or so, but before that she lived here for over 60 years).

Since she was not a member of the parish, the priest had never met her, but gave a beautiful sermon nonetheless. He also shared this poem, which I thought was worthy of passing on:

God saw she was getting tired
and a cure was not to be.
So He put His arms around her
and whispered, “Come with Me”.

With tear-filled eyes we watched her
slowly fade away.
Although we loved her deeply,
We could not make her stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,
hard-working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best.

Funerals are always sad, naturally. But they also remind us how important the people we love are. More than any other occasion, I think, they really serve to bring families and friends closer together. As our lives get more and more hectic, we gather less often. And when we do get together for a birthday or a wedding or graduation, there is so much distraction. A DJ is playing or a football game is on.

Despite the sadness of the occasion, I appreciate the time spent quietly with those we love, sharing our memories and focusing on what made them special.

Welcome to My Boudoir… Care for an Informative Brochure?

Well, another mystery solved here on Trying To Do the Write Thing.

A couple of days ago, we received a UPS tag on our front door that they had attempted a delivery.

Neither my husband nor I had ordered anything. It isn’t our birthdays/anniversary. No friends or relations admitted to sending us surprises. We were stumped. And the tracking info on the slip wasn’t working.

But yesterday, UPS made it’s second attempt and my husband was able to accept the delivery.

Apparently, some poor misguided organization sent me a display of brochures under the impression that:

a). I would be willing to display them in my office.

b). I have an office to display them in.

c). The appropriate way to encourage me to display brochures is to send them anonymously to my home without my knowledge.

So, that’s funny enough. But it gets better.

I came home to discover that my husband had set up the display on my nightstand.

I love him.